Towards making a success of your time abroad
- In no circumstances leave children under the age of 14 alone without supervision.
- Be flexible with regard to hours of work. There will be days when you will have to work a little longer than expected, but there will also be days when there will be less work than usual. Your flexibility in this will do much towards the general harmony within your host family.
- Notwithstanding will be living with your host family as part of the household you should nonetheless regularly offer your hosts the opportunity of being alone, for example by retiring earlier in the evening, or going out with friends.
- Be circumspect at all times, even during your time off. Don’t leave dirty cups and dishes in the kitchen, and always put everything away after use.
- Keep your room – and bathroom, if you have one – clean and tidy.
- Take an alarm clock with you, so you can always be punctual. Be dressed for breakfast, not in a dressing gown.
- Pay careful attention to your personal appearance and hygiene.
- Personal hygiene is extremely important. Have a shower after work, or at least once a day. Make sure your clothes are always clean.
- If during working hours you are unsure of what to do next, always ask. Your host family will appreciate your showing initiative in this way.
- If you are making a cup of tea or coffee for yourself, it will be appreciated if you offer one to whoever else is at home in the family.
- Be punctual for mealtimes. Always offer to help in dishing up and clearing away afterwards.
- It is polite to ask before taking out food.
- Always ask before inviting friends to the house.
- Always ask before using the telephone. International calls particularly are prohibitively expensive, and the making of them without express permission is strictly forbidden.
- Always respect requests not to do something. Let the family know if you are going to be late.
- Never invite your boyfriend or girlfriend to the house without prior permission from the family.
- If you are a smoker, do not smoke during working hours or anywhere near the children. Ask whether it is allowed to smoke at all in the house, including in your bedroom.
- The money you are paid is to be regarded as pocket money. Remember your position as an au pair in the household generates extra expense in the way of food, heating, water etc., so you must undertake a fair share of the work.
- Always be polite. Don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you.” Remember to smile.
- Don’t let your being an au pair be the cause of extra work in the household.
Useful tips for telephone interviews
This questionnaire has been prepared to help you in the event either the local agency or a potential host family telephones you to discuss a position that has arisen and for which you may be suitable.
Please read it carefully. It contains some useful information, which may help you if you are in an interview situation.
USEFUL TIPS IF YOU ARE CONTACTED BY THE LOCAL AGENCY
- Keep this page, and a pen, by the telephone at all times.
- Make sure you have filled in all the blank spaces.
- Don’t forget to make a note of the name of the person who rings you. This will be your point of contact throughout the process of finding a suitable family.
- Ask about anything you don’t understand.
USEFUL TIPS IF YOU ARE CONTACTED BY A POTENTIAL HOST FAMILY
- Always speak to the family yourself; never hand the telephone to a friend or relative.
- Speak your best possible English/German/French/Spanish. Practise the questions that agencies most frequently ask.
- If you can’t ring at the appointed time, please let the agency and the host family know as quickly as possible.
- Don’t buy your travel tickets until the arrangements are confirmed by the agency.
- Don’t forget to use the list of questions to be put to host families.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE FAMILY
||Miss / Mrs. / Mr.
||Date of commencement and duration of position
|Father YES NO, Occupation
|Mother YES NO, Occupation
||Number of children
||1 2 3 4 5 6
||Children’s names and ages
||Type of position
||Au pair plus
||Timetable of childcare
||Evening childcare weekly
||Day off weekly
||Saturday - Sunday - other:
how often: ... weekly
||single / twin
||private - shared with the children - shared with the whole family
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE UNDERSTOOD EVERYTHING!